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A 10-person CUPE delegation will be visiting the Philippines as part of a CUPE Global Justice Fund project entitled, “Defend Human Rights in the Philippines: A Worker-to-Worker Solidarity Exchange”, from January 2-17, 2010. Members of CUPE 15, 2079, 3393, 4600 and their community partner the Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (OCHRP) will be hosted by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE). 

Both ACT and COURAGE are deeply involved in the anti-privatization movement in the Philippines, and are currently waging campaigns that focus on many sectors including education, water, electricity, food, housing, social security, tax collection and international seaports. Services such as water and electricity have already been partially privatized!

The purpose of this tour is to build relationships of solidarity between workers in Canada and the Philippines. This is the second phase of a 2 phase project. During the first phase in May 2009, CUPE and community partners across the country hosted a visit by two members from the Philippine labour movement. During this second phase, the Canadian delegation will travel to the Philippines to be exposed directly to the struggle of public sector workers and their families against privatization, political repression, killings and abductions in the Philippines. They will share the current conditions of Canadian public sector workers and their current campaigns against P3’s and the privatization of our vital services.

As workers in Canada and the Philippines we share the same fight against the privatization of our workplaces; the struggle for fair wages, benefits, job security and the right to organize and join a union. While we experience the insecurity and precariousness that accompanies this fight, in the Philippines it is much more dangerous. Trade unionists are experiencing escalating violence, forced disappearances and killings with impunity.

As the struggle of workers and labour leaders continues in the Philippines, it is important for workers in Canada to learn about the situation and to show their support and solidarity. We hope to learn a great deal from the challenges and successes encountered in the anti-privatization campaigns in the Philippines.